When selecting up Toyota’s 2017 hydrogen gasoline cell Mirai from the valet at an airport parking zone in Los Angeles, I felt a way of VIP snootiness that comes from driving an automobile that few others personal. Or perhaps it was simply the driving force of a Tesla Mannequin X eyeing the Mirai that gave me that impression. However, after driving on clogged southern California freeways for an hour or so together with all of the ordinary gas-fueled cars and extra pedestrian hybrid and electrical automobiles, I rapidly forgot this trip was particular. Despite everything, the Mirai is an electric car with one massive distinction: As a substitute for plugging in to cost the onboard battery that powers the electric motor that drives the entrance wheels, the juice is generated by a gasoline cell that runs on hydrogen, with water as the one byproduct.
Throughout my two-day test, which did not require topping off the tanks, I got here to benefit from the Mirai’s quiet operation, relaxing trip, and tech facilities that remind me of the Toyota Avalon Hybrid ($34,639.00 at Truecar). However, whereas EV charging stations aren’t precisely plentiful, public hydrogen refueling is much more scarce, which is why the Mirai is presently solely offered in California, the one state with adequate infrastructure to assist sufficient fueling stations for everyday driving. And whereas the Mirai’s efficiency is considerably underwhelming, I admittedly loved the occasional stares from LA’s inexperienced automobile cognoscenti.
Pricing and Design
The 2017 Toyota Mirai ($58,395.00 at Truecar) is a limited-production car available in just one trim degree. All fashions are identically geared up, with no additional choices. It has an MSRP of $57,500, plus an $885 supply, processing, and dealing with payment, for a total sticker value of $58,395.
The Mirai is closely backed and incentivized. Consumers qualify for a California rebate of $5,000, and Toyota throws in $7,500 as “Trailblazer” assist, together with free fueling for three years or as much as $15,000, whichever comes first. Californians can even get the coveted carpool lane sticker that lets single occupants bypass individuals caught on the freeway.
The 2017 Mirai comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, wide-angle LED daytime working lights, heated and power-folding exterior mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, engine stop-start, a rearview digicam, entrance and rear parking sensors, noise-reducing windshield and side-door home windows, eight-way energy entrance seats, heated door, and rear seats, and a wild and energy tilt and telescoping steering wheel. On the tech aspect, you get Toyota’s Security Join telematics system, in addition to its Entune infotainment system with apps and navigation, and a premium JBL sound system with AM/FM/HD/satellite tv for pc radio, and USB and aux inputs. Driver assists embody front-collision warning with computerized emergency braking, lane protecting help, rear cross visitors alert, adaptive cruise management, blind-spot monitoring, and excessive auto beams.
The fuel-cell electrical powertrain produces 151 horsepower. Air channeled via massive entrance intakes is delivered to the gasoline cell stack, generating electrical energy by combining oxygen with hydrogen from two onboard tanks. An influence management unit determines whether or not to ship juice onto an electrical motor that turns the entrance wheels or retailer it in an onboard battery, which can also be replenished by regenerative braking and assists throughout heavy acceleration.
If you have visions of the Hindenburg when considering hydrogen-fueled automobiles, the Mirai’s three-layer, carbon-fiber wrapped, polymer-lined tanks are constructed to resist the crash power of metal five occasions in response to Toyota. If a high-speed crash happens, sensors shut off the move of hydrogen from the tanks, and all hydrogen-related elements are positioned exterior the passenger cabin to ensure that any leaked hydrogen would not construct up.
With its low-profile headlights and gaping entrance facia, the 2017 Mirai might be mistaken for the latest-generation Prius from the surface, however, with extra distinctive rear quarter panel creases. Inside, the Mirai has a baffling mixture of angles that make up the dashboard and a collection of cascading screens that comprise the middle stack. I discovered the cabin comfy and well-appointed and have been shocked to see facilities akin to a heated steering wheel and rear seats in such an eco-friendly automobile.
Interface and Connectivity
We contemplate the Entune infotainment system as top-notch for its versatile and intuitive interface and subscription-free connectivity. You’ll be able to select to indicate as many as three principal menu gadgets on the 7-inch contact display screen, and icons throughout the Apps menu may be rearranged. Entune apps use your smartphone and a companion app to enter streaming music, native search, and different linked companies. Extra free options, akin to climate and visitors information, can be found by way of HD Radio.
One drawback of the Entune interface is that the capacitive contact controls that flank the contact show could be a problem to function on the fly in contrast with tactile buttons and knobs. The identical goes for the local weather features additional down within the sprint.
The Toyota Security Join telematics system is free for the primary yr of possession and offers automatic collision notification, emergency and roadside help, and stolen car location. However, Toyota would not supply a distant app that enables features akin to lock/unlocking the automobile’s doorways or discovering the car’s location utilizing a smartphone. That mentioned, the Entune system does have a hydrogen gasoline station finder app, which is helpful given their restricted availability.
Efficiency and Conclusions
With simply 151 horsepower propelling the two-ton, Camry-sized automobile, the Mirai felt sluggish once I nailed the accelerator on an extended, empty freeway on-ramp. Even with the Energy mode engaged, which does not produce a marked distinction over Eco mode. That mentioned, it has sufficient velocity to make it on LA’s freeways, whereas the suspension delivers a pleasant steadiness between driving feel and luxury.
Topping off the Mirai’s twin hydrogen tanks from empty solely takes about 5 minutes, after which the automobile can go more significant than 300 miles. By comparability, even the quickest EV charging can take as much as 30 minutes, and solely a handful can go more than 100 miles on a total cost.
The Mirai has firm within the type of the Honda FCX Readability and the Hyundai Tucson FCEV; however, it’s nonetheless the one fuel-cell car you should purchase and never simply lease. Even with rebates and incentives nevertheless, you need to be very eco-conscious and cozy with the concept of being one thing of a guinea pig to buy the Toyota Mirai, not to point out a California resident. But it indeed’s good to drive an automobile that only a few individuals have, and even nicer to understand how little you’ll have to refuel it.
- Fast fueling time.
- Lengthy battery varies.
- Great infotainment system.
- Underwhelming efficiency.
- Solely obtainable in California.
THE BOTTOM LINE
As the one hydrogen-powered car you should purchase, the 2017 Toyota Mirai has certain benefits over electrical automobiles and the drawbacks of restricted availability and fueling choices.